Earn/Save Money

4 Tricks to Avoid Mindless Spending (aka “I Think I’m Rich” Mode)

Shopping can be fun, social, therapeutic — but once it starts costing more than actual therapy, maybe it’s time to look at some of your shopping habits. It’s easy to get caught up in the feel-good chemicals that the ability to swipe that magical card brings, so before you go out shopping this weekend lets take a look at 4 tricks to avoid mindless spending.

1. Avoid that sweet sales person

They aren’t your friend. They don’t care about you. They don’t really think your ass looks like Kelly Ripa’s in that dress. It’s sad but true, you may think they’re sweet but they are likely after that commission and will tell you all the right things to get you to buy that ugly dress. When you’re trying things on, if there’s a mirror in your dressing room just stay inside that sucker or else make yourself a target for the salespersons sweet words. Plus, you always feel like an a-hole taking up a bunch of a salespersons time and then walking out which further pushes us to buy things we may not really want. 

2. New amazing store just opened? Careful.

It’s a proven fact that we are way more likely to spend when we are in a new store since the feel-good drug in our brain, dopamine, is activated when we experience something new and/or exciting. The trick here is to put whatever you loved on hold and come back to the store after shopping around a bit only if you really can’t stop thinking about it. You may be surprised at how much less appealing it seems once you’ve left the store.

3. Try leaving credit cards at home

Credit cards screw us in that they allow us to experience all the warm fuzzy goodness of acquiring new things while delaying the icky nasty element of actually having to pay for it. This can obviously cause us to get a little carried away. This is why department stores are always pushing their cards on you with promises of discounts (don’t do it). If you’re on a budget, take out the cash that you are willing to part with or force yourself to take the cash out of an ATM when you find something you love. It will ensure you really want it bad enough to pay for it in full right then and there.

4. Wait 90 minutes

Apparently after 90 minutes of shopping we become brain dead zombies who don’t know how to make good financial decisions. This could explain why big department stores don’t have clocks or windows – they want us to go into the “zone” where all bad buying decisions are made. Set an alarm in your phone for 90 minutes, put your things on hold and grab a coffee or go for a walk. You’ll come back more clear headed and walk out with only the things you really want or need. 

 

4 Comments

  1. My thing now is just to avoid stores altogether. I try to combine everything into one big trip because if I go to Target for just one thing – I almost always end up walking out with way too many other items that I don’t really need.

  2. Haha… agreed, esp with #1 – they annoy me how FAKE they always are! Also, I think some weird copy/pasting is going on with your #4 :(

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